Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Nuttall's Woodpecker (Dryobates nuttallii)


French: Pic de Nuttall German: Nuttallspecht Spanish: Pico de Nuttall

Picus Nuttalii

[sic] Gambel

, 1843,

Los Angeles County, California, USA


Most closely related to D. scalaris and D. pubescens (with both of which it occasionally hybridizes), and all three previously placed in genus Picoides; molecular analyses indicate relationship also with D. minor#R. Present species has sometimes been included in Veniliornis. Specific name emended on basis of internal information from original description. Monotypic.


SW USA from N California S (mainly W of desert areas) to extreme NW Mexico (NW Baja California).

Descriptive notes

19 cm; 28–47 g. Male has black forehead and forecrown contrasting strongly with white nasal tufts, forecrown well streaked with white, red hindcrown and nape normally... read more


Double “pitit” or single “pit” calls, sometimes followed by a rapid low rattle, “ititititititit”;... read more


Arid to mesic woodland. Primarily open oak (Quercus) woodland, also riparian woodland,... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly insects and other arthropods: predominantly beetles (mainly Cerambycidae, Elateridae), also hemipterans, caterpillars, ants; also... read more


Season starts in Feb, egg-laying mostly in Apr–May, rarely to Jun. New nest-hole excavated each year, mostly by male, at 1–14 m... read more


Resident; some altitudinal movement. Casual records outside breeding range in California, and to N... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in California EBA. Fairly common to common. Total population roughly estimated at c. 100,000–200,000... read more

Recommended citation

Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2018). Nuttall's Woodpecker (Dryobates nuttallii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 17 March 2018).